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Author Topic: Understanding Numbers  (Read 1982 times)

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Offline new_beginnings

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Understanding Numbers
« on: May 26, 2014, 01:20:01 PM »
I tested HIV-1 positive at the end of January during my annual physical.  I had previously tested negative on an Oraquick test at the end of November, 2013, then I had a pretty bad flu-like illness in early January, that I and my doctor believe was the acute infection stage.

The followup testing revealed that VL was high (what seems hight to me, based on others' experiences that I read about):  233K, and that my CD4 count was 725, which was exactly my CD4 count on my blood workup baseline from my 2012 physical exam.  This led my doctor to advise me that my immune system hadn't been compromised, so that was the one sliver of good news in the whole diagnosis/learning.

After doing a test for drug resistance, my doctor prescribed Stribild, which I began taking the first week in Feb. Four weeks later, my VL had dropped to 434 and CD4 was up, at 740.  Four weeks later in early April, mv VL had dropped to 188, and CD4 had increased again slightly.   Six weeks later, this past week, my VL has dropped to 88, so that's good news, but now also my CD4 count dropped to 552, which the lab reports in the *abnormal* range (<591).   My doctor described the CD4 count as 'good,'  but since it dropped rather significantly, I'm trying to reconcile the numbers in my mind and keep things in perspective.   I'll be tested again in June, so maybe I'll get some insights there, but I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar experience where CD4 counts went up after starting AVT, then sent down, alongside VL going down.

Also, if anyone can explain the helper/suppressor ratio, which has been .72 in my last two labs, I'd appreciate learning more about that.

And, thanks to everyone for sharing on this forum.  This site and forum have really helped me come to terms with my infection, and keeping my health on track.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 01:48:19 PM by new_beginnings »

Offline Kardean

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Re: Understanding Numbers
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2014, 10:17:29 PM »
As you may or may not know....  CD4 can vary greatly at any given point.  What has the CD4% been with these counts?  It is a much more stable number and better indicator of immune integrity.  However, it appears by your VL numbers that your treatment is effective and that is after all what the goal is.  Give it time.

Offline leatherman

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Re: Understanding Numbers
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 12:00:32 AM »
CD4 count was 725,.... CD4 was up, at 740. .... but now also my CD4 count dropped to 552

which the lab reports in the *abnormal* range (<591).
1) a one-off cd4 count doesn't tell you much. To understand your cd4 count you need to look at the trend of at least 3 tests over a period of time (like 6-8 wks or more). The change in your cd4 (which can change by 100 pts a day) is negligible and not worth thinking about. You could even look at the average, which is 672 - and that's incredibly nice.

2) abnormal?? that's not right. "Less that 591" has no real clinical significance. Normal is 500-1000. Below 200, you might have an OI. By 350 you should start meds, or by 500, or immediately (take your pick LOL) Some people can have very high counts (and  be sick!); and some can have low counts (and never be sick)

Rather than try to retype a lot of great info about cd4 counts, check out this thread "Death of the CD4 count" to learn a lot about CD4s, the quality of an immune system, and why as you reach undetectable and/or have a count over 200 that the cd4 count just doesn't mean all that much.  ;) :D
leatherman (aka mIkIE)

All the stars are flashing high above the sea
and the party is on fire around you and me
We're gonna burn this disco down before the morning comes
- Pet Shop Boys

chart from 1992-2015


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